ABSTRACT

A central challenge posed by pluralism is this: in any society of substantial pluralism, there will be enough divergence among moral and religious commitments that even a broadly justified political system will conflict, in some respect, with some citizens’ religious beliefs. Those conflicts pose a threat to justification and, consequently, to political stability. One important way that such conflicts arise is in terms of conflicts of obligation: laws or policies that impose obligations on citizens that conflict with their religious obligations, forcing them to choose between fidelity to the law and fidelity to their faith. Additionally, some citizens will be alienated from their political system by conflicts of value: indications that the political system does not regard as authoritative or important the same values that the citizen prizes. This chapter elaborates the nature of these challenges and considers various theoretical and practical/legal strategies for resolving these conflicts, concluding that they are an inevitable feature of liberal politics in contexts of pluralism.